In his third year of UCLA, Ricardo Ayala got to study abroad in Paris, France. A trip to the beautiful and historic city is luxurious for anyone, but for Ricardo, who comes from a working class family that rarely had the resources to travel, it was an opportunity to explore the similarities and differences of foreign urban societies – and to tell Parisians about certain realities in the U.S. that are not visible from abroad. “The biggest surprise I encountered was learning about the backgrounds of the locals and having to explain my own—that I am Latino and from the United States. ‘Je viens des Etats-Unis mais ma maman est d’El Salvador,’ (“I come from the United States but my mom is from El Salvador”). This was something I had to repeat again and again. While common in the U.S., the French I met knew very little about Latinos in Los Angeles.” Read about his fascinating journey, on Boyle Heights Beat.